i would like to thank to lead sponsor. there are proud sponsors of the new york public library and had been for some years now. they're also members of the new york public library, lawyers with a library committee. the firm was founded in 1924 and offered a forward thinking approaches and solutions to diverse times in seven major practice areas, corporate, energy, and environmental teletext and a financial-services, real estate, litigation, and intellectual property. thank you very much. [applause] [applause]
that need tell you about some of our other events coming up this evening. next week i will be interviewing part of the rolex weekend. we will have jessye norman, ryan ino, peter sellars, ended in others. the following week than keegan, and just before takes giving to my joe didn't. follow right after thanksgiving was mary beard, josh twitter, wesley and steve per. during -- join our e-mail list and find out more in stay on top of what we are doing next. this spring season will open with oliver stone in conversation. tom brokaw will happily sign books after our conversation, and once again, it is our
pleasure to think the independent bookseller 192 books. [applause] [applause] the first ten people who sign up after our event tonight and become friends of the new york public library, obviously all of you are already friends of the new york public library, but support was more, if you know what i mean, will get his new book for free. now, you'll know who tom brokaw is. for the last few years i have asked the various guess i and but for a biography of themselves written by themselves in seven words, like to of sorts. if you really want to be modern, which may be tom brokaw and i will talk about, tweet of sorts.
and so tom brokaw sent me the following seven words, and they are -- some people ask for seven in the give me 27. no, seven words. he knows with an assignment is. he said, curious, talkative, i am grateful for that, impulsive, impatient, forgetful. tom brokaw. [applause] ♪ ♪ been. >> the list for you. you love frank sinatra.
>> i do. i have experiences with frank sinatra, obviously. my generation, he was the voice, and he was larger than life in many ways. i get to him along the way, and not always pleasantly because i was a reporter, and he did not like being in the news, especially the way he got himself of the news. he would do something inappropriate and we would reported in the next day his public-relations person would come to see me. he would say, you know, frank does not think that you are where he is underwriting an orphanage in mexico's awhile are some good deed. i said, no, i did hear about that. it does not excuse the bar brawl in which she was involved was my or never. and then there and not set of circumstances one evening in new york we had a mutual friend, a kind of legendary figure by the name of some key lazar, who was a great agent. he had invited me to dinner. it turned out he had also
invited frank's wife. frank was going to arrive later. no, my god. what is this going to be like. sinatra came and sat down and lifted me and said to mckay, watch you every morning. he said, i have tickets for my concert. he turned on the charm. of course i was instantly seduced by all of that. >> did you go? >> he did not know which ones to want to show up. when the goodwin showed up he was absolutely wonderful. >> you went to the concert. >> i did not, but i have another occasion later. he made one of his greatest nbc because we had the best facilities. the audio wizard who worked in d.c. and break in those days and said, stick around tonight. it will be around 2:00 a.m., but
you will want to hear this. i went to the south station way in the back where no one could see me. break came in at 2:00 in the morning. i saw. he worked with the orchestra and the score in he worked. he was all business, the model focused that he had in doing take after take after take. i thought, that is who he is because he was so big that it. >> also knew the story, and i promise you we will only talk about. >> un truck, but it strikes me in your story that you also mentioned he was the voice. one thing, you are known for, it is your own voice. >> it is, but it is widely imitated as well no one does a better than david gregory. [laughter] dagen pigs upon a lot. it is a form of flattery.
i cannot sit in up. >> i was just about to ask you. >> they got. you know, the paint comes off walls. i don't do it. >> i would like to begin quite simply by referencing the subtitle of your new book the time of our live. the subtitle reads to we are tell where we have been, and where we need to go now to recapture the american dream. and when i read that subtitle of was rather struck by just how loaded the terms are. in this country for 30 years. i would like you to explain to me what it means, these two words, american dream. >> everyone has their own interpretation, but i suppose it
is a kind of a consensus. it is the american dream that our children will have better lives and we will. every succeeding generation has a little better life in some fashion. his gun reused to what i call the quantitative better left, and that is what we have to reexamine, how many houses, how many cars, on the jackets toys give you half. that ought not to be the measure of the american dream. what i try to do in this book is to turn the thinking to the quality of life. let's make that the measure of the american dream. more tolerance in america, more opportunity in the workplace. reforming our education system so that everyone has an equal opportunity to move themselves forward, to do something about our political culture so that it does not seem wallow from the ordinary american. that is getting at the american
dream, and that is the question that comes up as i say in the book time and time again as i go across the country from people on main street, people in power. they're worried about whether their children will have what they have. i ask them to examine what that means. what do you mean, have what you have. happiness can be achieved in a thousand for ways. we ought to have a continuing pride in who we are as well. >> and the word we key -- of the word recapture is very important because in some ways is speaks of something that was lost. >> well, i do think it has been lost to some degree. if you just look at the polling in this country now, the confidence in our institution is down to single-digit in many instances. most people think that the country is very much on the wrong track. they express overly their anxiety about the future of
other children will have as they look at the workplace disappeared. i once did a series of nbc nightly news about autoworkers in america. five generations of them. the great grandfather who had been -- worked in the original ford factory in he had been beaten up by the goods when they tried to organize. his son, the great wave of the 1950's and got big benefits, good salary, a good retirement program, house in michigan, big fishing boat, and the good life. his son was outsourced all across the midwest from ohio to indiana to these other outlying plants that were not part of the central forced. but i said what are you going to do about the ten year-old, they said in unison, computers. we have to get him working on computers. so that is the transition. there was a time, a strong back
in a good pair of hands in the good work boots, you could find a good job and get paid for it. the manufacturing capital of the world. that is no longer true. 40 percent of the american economy now is in financial services, shoveling money in creating new estimates. >> don't you think that worry of parents for the next generation for their children to do better than they did in their own times when there were productive is something that has always existed? to you feel it is exacerbated? >> even during the worst is of the 60's i think the greatest generation, as i call them, often they would to shake their heads about other kids were behaving. customer there are so smart and well-educated. the travel so easily. and i cannot believe the starting salary that they get that a law firm or an ibm or one of the places. i used to take the temperature of the generational lot because
i was covering the 60's a lot. even though they were unhappy with their deportment, they could see whether there were the masters of the world. the idea that their children could say, you know, going to take a couple of years often travel the world to come back and stomach career, starting businesses at the very early age and doing inventing things. their parents were looking at them with a sense of all. other parents are looking at the children with the sense of anxiety, and they're looking at them across the dinner table because they're moving back in with them, the kids are. in big numbers. and they do it for couple of reasons. one is economic, they cannot get a job, they cannot afford are renouncing. the second is to lie just my parents. you know, they're best friends and my best counsel. i have seen with corporations a gun to my dad or mother.
>> of paris during a less good job in educating their children? >> yes, but, you know, educating them for what? that is the issue. i mean, i believe that if society is always best served by a strong, liberal arts under during, but in the modern economy you also have to have specific skill sets to work in high-tech manufacturing. therefore, there is a boom going on in america in community colleges because they are affordable and teaching young people practical skills to take to the workplace. other young people look at their friends to go off to college and emerge as to percent of them do, those with some loans, to percent of them have debt of $40,000 the good of college. that is a big load to start life with. >> learn so much, own father when i went to the university just before i went off to the
university, but my parents from an old vienna. my father sat me down and said, you know, don't forget the word university comes from the word universe. don't forget for one second that you might be going in studying literature and philosophy and law, but right across the street is the medical school. go and look how they cut up the body. go and look at what the other people do. end of was reminded by this in part by this fabulous quotation that you have of the former president of leo -- deal. you're not expected to know, but you're expected to wish to know. i would love you to elaborate because i thought that was very
inspiring. >> i waited for the freshmen entering speech every year in this baccalaureates speech. the post. i made it clear to him and and ripping off. this real -- it was real wisdom of the best kind. the great literary figure, a renaissance scholar, and he would give wonderfully wise speeches to intimate freshmen and those who were leading. he would also say to them, as he did, that was the speech in which he said to not become hostage to the orthodoxy of the others as you leave here. at that point we were going through the pat roberts influence in american politics and the moral majority. he found that tyrannical as a political egos. he was saying to the universe.
he was threatened by the way of taking it on, but he was saying to the university students, you know, use your mind to reason, think, be independent. we lost a part too early. we have, in my judgment, too few in our life anymore. i also quote john gardner, the founder of common cause and had his own kind of populist was about how we should conduct ourselves in our civil and social society. >> to you feel he was saying that because in some way young people and adventures enough when they go into school? >> i think this is a pretty adventurous generation. i don't think that they have this course of their once did because they find it in instrumentation. they have safe landed on the screen. how much they serve that to get that kind of wisdom, i don't know.
they're utterly fascinated, with good reason, by the new technology. i have a line that i used to go to university campuses. i never expected in my lifetime something as transformer if as this for communication to research, and commerce and ways that we cannot even now anticipate. on one universities are exploding. bill gates the spends most of his evenings in online academies of one gun or another reading great literature are learning new things. then i say to them, but you are not going to reverse a global warming by his. you will get rid of global poverty by hitting the lead to. it will do as the good to wire the world if we short circuit ourselves. put your feet on the ground. >> with you also say that, you are worried of the day when
someone will write a song called a tree is just to reach. >> i don't want to hear that song. brown also look at new audiences and city and people, know texas is to replace the whispering of love you or holding hands and a first date. >> the new technologies, while you see their value, what worries you about them is that people are not thinking enough about the limitations. >> well, because i think that humankind is advanced by technology that has wisdom in the hands that activase that technology and passion that they bring to their lives as well. it is an estimate, a tool. we have had some hearts, and they should drive the technology, not the other way around. that is what i believe.
i also worry that as a stanford law senior when i was out there doing work in silicon valley, was sitting in the courtyard at stanford law school and those on line, in this segment can over to me. very partial to stanford because i love the love of tuition there for my daughter. [laughter] but he said to be, a very pertinent question. he said, you have written a lot about generations. my generation. now, a very relevant question. how you measure. it ought not to be just because you share a facebook page or they know how to tweet or how to find you. >> and also one of the things that your book speaks about is the notion that technology in some way also answer rubs our
course of thinking. in the think this will lead is quite nicely. >> i must say, i -- you really have to bring discipline to this tetralogy. it is way too easy to go on her and then start searching and searching for something whether it has any meaning and not have a friend who's courting clients at this analogy and confined to his library, he said, is that that thing that old menus when they wake up in the middle of the night so they could read the new york times before the morning arrived iraq i said, yes to mineta said. i know it well. we have not had a dialogue this country. does not mean that we have to assemble summer to have that dialogue, but even within families there has not been much
of a dialogue. best use of the technology, what to be aware of. i will segue into saying what i said to audiences as well about the impact of the technology on journalism, not just the forms of journalism but how we get our news. there was a ton of a lot of you remember well. we just get up in the morning and at the morning paper. went to the newsstand and picked off one of the many papers that were available, get home in the evening. tom, dan, peter. then they beat the cut the late evening news, and that was it. europe couch potato. now you have to be a proactive consumer. you have to go find the sources of this information, not just take it because it comes off the screen if to measure the credibility of overtime. somebody in montana comes to me
quite wide ad on a regular basis as you will not believe what i saw on the internet. i said to your right. i'm not going to believe it. >> it is a yearning. in groups assembled such as this one, there is a yearning to come together. as i often say, you come to collier self. we need in some form or fashion others. now, you say we must return to our fundamental obligation. it is time to reenlist and citizens. he repeated that term. what do you mean? >> it has become a mantra. i measure what you're up to the is the history and the immediate legacy you inherited. let me give you an easy example to that. and i say this or ride go, and a lot of you have heard me say more than you would like to this
point. i have been engaged in the two longest wars in our history a lot of families, loss of wifehood, people physically and otherwise to be there represent less than 1 percent of the american population. all volunteers, come from middle-class and working-class families pirelli. very few upper income families send someone off in uniform to fight for all of us. there bit pairing this terrible burden. no additional taxes. we don't even have to think about it if we choose not to. we can go through our lives, and the war can be going on almost as an abstract. that is not just and unjust in my opinion. it is kind of immoral and a democratic society. that is an example of how we then have -- i have a title for
a chapter called uncle sam needs us. we have a realistic assistance. this next year will be very important. i know that it will be determined and find by the people who get into the arena and pursuit and in courage what they want for america to go forward. i it said a month ago and repeated it again recently that wherever you think about the tea party, and i can only guess a room like this -- [laughter] but the tea party played by the rules. they get angry, organized, got to washington commended state disciplined. they're dominating the but
dialogue and a presidential republican debate because of that discipline. out of proportion of the numbers because you looked at the polling and they don't represent a majority of americans. in fact, quite a distinct minority, but because they stay on message and because the use the instrumentation is available to them the tail wagging the dog at this board. your own passion to the arena to me afterward reenlist as citizen >> this covers losses from the cleanup the ground up. >> the draft will happen again. to politically toxic. they like the motivated volunteers, but there is no reason why we cannot elevate the idea of public service.
more than the sum of its parts. after being indicted richard said kasten and a rock, especially in afghanistan and a couple of occasions. special forces. these remote villages where i see these guys that i was with, goggles and kevlar helmets invests and humvees. shaking down the pickup trucks and compass getting weapons. in a way, say we are here to win their hearts and minds. there's got to be a better way. we just can't have a military enforcement. by the way, i still admire these are warriors because they're well-trained. they know what they're doing, and there are frustrated because too much is being asked of them. i came back and thought, well,
this is the times. why can't we have a diplomatic special forces. people who are adventurous and civilians with led me to believe that we are going to have public service academies of america, six of them a vast a land grant schools, public, private, the johnson and johnson fellow, the john deere fellow in agriculture , caterpillar fellow and construction. they spent three years getting the specialized training and then they are assigned both by a combination of government and private sector coalitions to either work abroad or in this country. the end of three years of public service the corporation takes them in for two years to prove up. they have a chance to see whether they want to keep them and whether the yen manner woman wants to stay there. it is not as all forms as it ought to be because of a card to it -- tried to kick start a conversation. i was trying this out and south texas with some friends of mine
and big businessmen. one of them, a very conservative guy. i did not have the private @booktv at that point. he said make it private public and get the private sector involved. >> very interested in that partnership between public and private. >> a growing trend. >> yes. it is a big trend in this country. mitch daniels is doing a lot of it in indiana. but on the smaller basis across the country water districts are being turned over to private companies. more properly and efficiently. the state in which to live as 11,000 state agencies. this was a hundred years ago. this is not necessary for us to have that many state agencies here. long island, as you go across the county, each county has a different water district and a different set of rules that will pit commissioners. >> i would consolidate a lot of
it. i would consolidate a lot of education. it is very tough because people have attachments. the system that is going to consolidate and chase the reform is a system that is being reformed and rewarded by the way it exists now. i'm inclined to do it. >> we had, on the same states, malcolm black was when the talks. >> just. >> the founder of teach for america. i think one of the most powerful parts of your book is precisely your worry really with the state of education in this country. you have this anecdote about being in. and seeing children congregating , very young children congregating. >> and that was 15 years ago. during the olympics. the time difference, very late at night to a really early in
the morning. when i was finished it would be not yet gone -- don. i looked down from the building. there was a junior high court abalone. and at about 545, 6:00 in the morning flash floods would be all over the courtyard and there would be students doing their homework waiting for the doors to open at the junior high. that is how motivated there were . arnie duncan talk about a meeting with south korea. so, what are your problems with education to back the president of korea said parents are demanding more of me than i can satisfy them with right now. we have the flood of that going on. here is kerrey of. 1950 was a stone age economy, 80 percent illiteracy. now it is one of the great industrial powers in the world, and they did that in the most
possible -- hostile possible conditions. they come here and open businesses and go to school, hundred and they are. i deliberately did not choose china to make it the centerpiece because we all know about that, but it is going on arrows as well. >> very much enjoy reading this encounter that you had with president obama where he said the biggest lesson that we learned from world war ii is america can do anything when it puts its mind to it, but we have got to exercise those muscles. that think they have after fried a bit with ways that we have a profound danger to our long-term prosperity and security. condition of atrophy muscles. i think it does connect to a
story. >> we went to war after september 11 on a credit card and did not ask. on the credit card. we did not ask anything of the rest of us, no self sacrifice whatsoever. we were encouraged to go back to your shopping again. yet this enormous boom in housing which was irrational so much with from the beginning. our daughter to my god, we're offering these deals with interest only. i looked and said was going on. they said, there is so much as cementation out there know that people alone anything. fannie mae and freddie mac were driving a lot of that.
they're very clever a buccaneer idea of homeowners for everyone. we have 20 million homes that are either in foreclosure or stressed or in danger of going into foreclosure. that means your of 20 million homes that are not buying new appliances, carpeting, can move to a new job, stock. they're stuck with the biggest investment it will make an ally for many of them. this represents a lot of their net worth. until we get that figure that will be a harder job to the economy rolling back on track in a way that we need to. neither party is talking about that question book is made a
pointed questions, and won it is one that jfk as many years ago. how would you answer? >> i would say, the new york public library. >> that is one of the things. what else? >> tremendous data live, if there is an oxymoron there is a humble messenger ever earned a certain place where people will listen to me in the have always cared of the country. the brightest -- greatest generation give me a kind of a platform that was completely unanticipated. but i thought i ought not to squander that. i had to step up not just as a
citizen and journalist, but a father and husband and grandfather. if i see these things and how to write about them and try to start this dialogue with john tried to do with this book about where we need to get to next. now, and our family, we all do a lot of different things. micro finance. another daughter who works for the international rescue committee. we were raised by parents and grandparents who just saw that as part of the national -- natural form of life. i like to think that my larger contribution is to try to engage people in the events that define
our times. >> you have passages of the book precisely about the legacy of parents less than how careful and cautious and some thrifty and never spent more than man had light and almost everyone else, frisky by nature did not spend what they did have. >> i knew there were two drifty. while not polluted. hard for them to spend the extra dollars. that had the good fortune of having resources so that i could help them in ways to on trips or
buy a retirement place. never defined our relationship my dad that unfortunately. had this wonderful job and this responsibility the wave of people getting paid a lot of money for doing this kind of work. a lot of publicity. my father who never earned, i think, cash income more than $9,000 a year and is live, maybe at the end he did better and that. work for the corps of engineers is a construction foreman. a wonderful sense of humor news reports about your salaries.
i made good money before that. dan was making computer was making, barbara walters was making. my father was very red-haired. he would call me. i told him. the company back. he said, reading time magazine. i said, come on. why are we talking about this? how tell you why. as long as we have known you weeds and how much to set aside this year. i took them shopping. >> oh, yes. >> and we were driving. this cargo into the supermarket. i thought i would throw off --
show off my thrifty gene spirit fresh squeezed or is used. i said to me that is really expensive. he reached down and my shopping cart and picked up three very sensible of the california wine and said, i guess the money @booktv orange juice will help if these. [laughter] >> she must've been very proud. >> you was, but you know, he was not in modest. you could not as my mother about me without her saying, and my son bill runs a restaurant, sunlight is a marine. they just did not play favorites my father, when i first got to have some kind of public celebrity, somebody once asked him when he was a gathering at the elks club this summer is said to my you limited tom brokaw my dad said, i think he's the cousin, and not sure.
>> another aspect of your book that i like is to talk about the incredible importance value attached to what one might call an ally in the form of philanthropy. fled to the plays an important role. by that i mean foundation says the talk about a model, the robin hood foundation would do well to expand in many different cities. >> we are very fortunate. i was a big skeptic. a bunch of big guys. they invited me to the breakfast
. john kennedy jr. was there. he introduced to yang min he had gone to prep school with. it was very moving about what they're doing in the school they can to me in civic and really use you on the board will used to having our way. we need someone to give us a reality check. i must tell you, i was astonished at the commitment of these very busy people sphere.
they pay all the overhead. they have metrics was a go out to agencies. very professional staff, take the measure of an agency that was not going to write very well, or doing something important, we need to go help the staff. they pay for everything. all that is done. this is the most generous country in the world. there is no other country in the world and it gives money as freely as the united states does were a variety of causes : the city will ever compare with the you're on it comes to raising money. ideal love of invincible love because sometimes for causes that almost no one knows about. is not retained to raise one-and-a-half to $2 million. one of the things when we first began to have somebody in a family.
my girls sometimes were even more generous than a wanted to be. what we should give away and when, but i had grown up with no money. what i found and the effectiveness of it, it gives you freedom. you can help of worthy causes. robin hood is a model. there are a lot of models. there would depend on the public-private partnership. a man by the name of don cousins who was a very, very successful commercial developer. the cnn center in the sports teams. they rebuilt downtown. he is probably a third or fourth generation well educated men of faith. marriage a wonderful woman.
making a lot of money and wanted to do something bigger. a part of atlanta, the sleek area. a golf course call these leg of course. bobby jones played his first and last round of golf, but a completely deteriorated tom decided that he kid chains the neighborhood beginning with the golf course. everybody told him it was the dumbest idea he had ever heard. his response was, i lost a lot of money and you're dumb ideas, and going to lose some online. he reformed the golf course and sold memberships. middle of money, took all the money and went to the community. it was not an easy sell. just a white guy coming in we need to chase the school system.
he did all that. an amazing mall environment. cnbc bid documentary, and warren buffett side, and so did joe and robinson. they call them up and said put a sen. we are your partners. then something called purpose built communities in indiana and new orleans, charlotte, go into omaha. these downtrodden areas. what they're doing is creating communities in making the school the centerpiece. i don't know how much of his fortune he will give away, but he could not be happier, and he could not be more modest about it. so i thought he is in detention. there are other examples. that goes on in this country we need to elevate that kind of an example it seems to me and make sure that becomes our goal.
>> one of the page that has happened, this new generation, the bill gates of the world, there's never been anything like what they're doing. the amount of money they're spending, how actively they're involved, this generation of philanthropist, they want to run their money. we are surrounded by this library, the vanderbilts, the j.p. morgan. the ford foundation. they turned their money over to a foundation and walked away. they're having a big, big impact in a lot of areas. a math professor who made so much money.
>> hello the storyteller but it's an buffett. >> ms nbc's as for microsoft nbc. formed a partnership. it did not work up perfectly. there would come back and have meetings. i would help bring him into the building. we have some stuff we have to discuss. the nature of our picture. this is because he kind of got control of the wardrobe and his personal grooming. he didn't care of all the stuff.
we have a picture taken. they did the picture to us immediately. go out to lunch a very close friend of mine who is on his board. he says, hey, he's going to be there as well. we'll alliance. i it show the picture. my friend ron. i said to me you're a mother, you have three sons. which one you worried about? [laughter] without missing a beat he said to me as, i often tell people we're so rich because we share common.
>> in the 50 years of being a man. >> half a century. yes. >> there is that, but there is also the strength and longevity and dedication in doing something to suit your early on that later on as models? >> suited our model? >> in my profession i have a real privilege of being raised by these big guys. i got the waverly. newspapers were still the dominant culture when it came to covering politics and covering everything in those days. when i was in los angeles site a private in 1966 as 26 year-old,
ronald reagan running against that brown. the l.a. times and a really first-rate political reporting team, older guys. i have often thought that, the kind of put their army and help me through it and get their miami. became friends and would have dinner every night. paul conrad was a brilliant pulitzer prize-winning cartoonist. that kind of sealed the deal. that was one of them. when a move to washington as a white house correspondent, was coming, local political reporter. there was some skepticism. after about three weeks there was gillette to their washington newspaperman by the name of peter listing more from chicago. he did the same thing, became my friend. restated very close touch and
talk to each other. the standards of journalism were different than what we do in broadcasting. and it kept might even sack. he could not be a diva around those guys. there would let the air out of me in a nanosecond. he used the dow when he saw me across. he would preside over our coverage. i will look down. four dozen people i absolutely find, he would now the senate is sally ann it would break mean bernie back.
that was very helpful. older guys, even across i treasure that with walter cronkite. he's having a hard time. i will cherish that french . when i made him a member of the greatest generation he would just argue with me. i don't think i'm a member of the greatest generation. i don't even like the phrase veteran. finally said among going to put an estimate by your name and say everyone is a member except through me. >> you still hold on to that phrase. >> i hold on to the phrase the greatest generation. >> i do. you know, my defense is very strong. that is my story, and i'm sticking to it. before the book was written a lot of people responded to it.
it was not a perfect generation. i don't say that. in fact in that generation came out of the depression where life was about sacrifice and not about a lot of hope. never wining and complaining. then one often thought the greatest war in the history of mankind, 1939 this country was the 16th military government to cut power in the world. by 1941 we are in the greatest war of all time. is in the pacific as well as europe, north africa, on six of the seven continents. pacifists' one day after pearl harbor, and listed them begin warriors. i talked to one of the machinists. we would this seen them all
along that is nothing less than some of the world. the russians pushing the germans back which was seized the political. there went to college in record numbers. industries, the new sciences. achieve a prosperity, none of them never believe it could have. they resisted some of the changes, but, in fact and as i remind people, bird and was a member of the greatest generation. she began to change the attitude of one america. the african americans who served came back and that became the foundation to the civil rights movement. there were not going to be
discriminated against in the back with -- satellite. members of the greatest generation were particulate critics as well. they gave another kind of voice to it. so i am satisfied that it was a generation worth celebrating. >> take as backfill little bit when you began. you were an anchor so many years back then. was it easier back then, do you think, than it is now? >> in my business, yes, much easier. and since the television entellus 15 living in remote parts of the country. was 15.
>> harmelin talking about that. >> that this rumor that we are seeing things that never respected to see in my living room. i read the papers, i saw a movie news the will but then to have of a black-and-white zenith television, doing a 15 minute broadcast and saying what was going on in washington that day before that goes to the world series, put all listen the car and drive to sioux city iowa and stand outside and watch on television to see the world series or go. they could get signals, we could not in our remote area. a big town, population 9,000. we had a television signal,
three channels to choose from. on sundays i remember watching walter cronkite during his sunday afternoon kinds of shows. ed murrow, what see all of that. i suppose then, they began to form, would like to do that. the thing about television, network television in those days , real meritocracy. they reached across the country to the corresponding quarter. time magazine and the new york times, the other great institutions, they had to come from harvard or yale, a different pedigree. television telling it was an open field. i often described as the obama land rush. rushing across the landscape. start in armonk. when i was there, the station had a very good gravitation. we would often these stories and and one of the officers of nbc
came out. fifteen minutes to half an hour. they were worried it would not be able to fill the half-hour, so there were asking the affiliate's to keep your eye on stories. the first time i appeared one of them fell off at the circus in omaha and died. the photographer had a picture, and i was on the air with it. >> with so many networks available and so many different ways of getting information, does that work still feel relevant? >> well, what i think now, walk-in last night. during charlie rose. i like going over there. he has a big stage. radio and the internet and television, a lot of stuff going on. buy property, it would look something like bloomberg. it does not mean i would give it up on nbc because we have a lot of platforms as well. all my friends to my contemporaries less started in
this business, was crazy because they all went to law school. i was of the generation where you go get a job for ibm and you would be a life her. i was a little more adventurous. i thought maybe i can get the network to pay for me to see the world. and now realized i over waste. seymour that i need to, but very exciting, the idea that read the heights of the civil rights movement. >> by the time news comes it has already been in so many different places. >> we had grown of this correspondence. we want to be reporters. now we find themselves. but fortuitously for all of us thought cut down food to the
philippines. a long way to go, but a very exciting story. 1989. >> found yourself by chance in berlin. >> just my was in berlin. not entirely by chance. i did not think the wall would come down, what i thought it was a very good story. i won the lottery. was there that night. i was laughing about it the other day. i like the outdoors. i did not have a formal wardrobe, so i tend like patagonia and l.l. bean, jackets when i go on the road. and i have those, worn out. i was going the night the wall is coming down. this is coming down for a long time. a really good looking topcoats. untraded and for the top cut.
event in his story. it lowered the threshold of the chances of pharma nuclear exchange between the two super powers. we still have the other area. i got to berlin the day before the wall came down. there was not much going on here and they were trying to get out of berlin and other places and we had more access than we ever had before going through check points on the other side and later in the afternoon on that thursday the propaganda chief for the east was at a news conference. a typical kind of bureaucratic news conference fending off all these questions. i was exhausted because i had been up most of the time since i left on tuesday at noon and all of a sudden someone handed me a piece of paper and his name was shibowski and he said the
politburo decided residents of the g e r can exit and return through any of the gates in the wall. or words to that effect. it was like hearing this being come in from mars. people in the room couldn't believe what they were hearing and thank you very much and he left. i had an appointment with him to interview him after the news cameras. so i went upstairs and got the camera in place and i said just pull that piece of paper out again and read it to me again. let's talk about what it means. he pulled it out and read it again and i said that means residents of your country, citizens of the g e ark and leave anyway -- anytime they want to through the wall. he said yes. that is what it means. i ran downstairs to some of my print colleagues who were standing there, from the long island newspapers. can this mean -- the wall is down. it is going to happen.
we reached back through the wall through the gate at checkpoint charlie. the guard was given as a terrible time going in and out the last two days was standing there and kind of lettuce breeze through and i said do you know what happened? he said yes. what do you think? he said through the interpreter i am not paid to think. he went out of his way. by the time i got to brandenburg gate people had come from the west and were cheering on the young people on the other side of the wall who were very uncertain whether they should come over the wall or not. one of my camera men came in and had the first footage of people coming through the wall and they poured in front of the brandenburg gate. it was the most exciting single event to know i was the only one there. everyone else was in the studio in new york covering it.
don't screw this up, don't screw this up. this is a big deal. >> you care to say something about watergate and reporting at that moment? watergate. >> guest: it would be much different today. people would be making judgments 24/7 about guilt or innocence. the white house press corps i look back on that as a model of tempered reporting. we reported what we knew. we had suspicions and things kept unraveling as we went along. but no one went on the air and said he is guilty and there is no way around it. or we didn't have a lot of people debating each other on the air. moreover as a practical matter, as a reporter when i finished with the evening news at 7:00 at night i could go work the phones to get ready for the today show
the next morning. i didn't have to go on msn b.c. and talk to chris riley or rachel somebody and speculate. i was going to do the work of a reporter. so when i got on the today show or had new sources and new information and new ideas. it was a real constitutional crisis. the presidency was at stake. the country was deeply divided. what are always remembered, i was in san clemente with of the supreme court decision coming down that they asked to give up the tapes and everyone knew it was over and done with. what i remember about it was once the tapes came out, this country, even the last defenders of richard nixon's that he has got to go. they said it to themselves or unspoken but everyone knew. i had been courting some republican senators during most of that year who were defenders
of the president and one of the call me at 6:00. the tapes came out. and he said you have been very patient with me. he said it is over. we are coming to tell him that. we will make a call first and the white house told not to come. the president made his decision that he was going to resign. that was a dramatic time. there was no military coup of any kind. people didn't hang on to the white house. two days later after president ford was sworn in one of the white house staffers who was loyal to nixon came to get something and burst into tears. i said what is wrong? she said they told me to get the president's papers and are don't know which president they are talking about. president for corporate and nixon. we got through that transition. >> host: and closing high
wondering two things. when you look back, any regrets? any stories you feel you could have told better? any stories you feel you with held and wish you had told? >> i didn't go to vietnam and i regret that. i was a young reporter for nbc and they didn't send -- mostly single people. i covered the war at home and often described it. that was a big piece of what was going on. i regret that. most people say that is nothing to regret. given all the other things i have done in my life. the story we could have told better -- >> host: most differently or better that you feel you didn't tell? >> guest: i think the signs were there for the economic downturn. i was out of the turn by then but i write about this in the book on the night of the
millennial change from new year's eve 1999. none of us was saying this was likely to happen. in the new york times, i don't know, wrote a pressing piece about how overheated the market was and what could happen. the rest of us were worried about yankee's. we didn't see 9/11 coming. before the fact of 9/11 i went to see the director of the fbi because i was working on a story about these racist bigots who were using -- it was well-organized, computers to spread hate. some people were murdered as a result of their actions. i wanted the fbi to cooperate with us about how they solve hate crimes on the computer.
and louis said that is not one of our priorities. you should be looking at terrorism. i walked out with my colleague and friend who was president of nbc news and we kind of talked about that and he said maybe we should look into that but it kind of faded away and then 9/11 happened. >> host: how do these things fade away? >> guest: it faded away and this is part of what is going on now, it wasn't tangible. even though we had the attack on the cold war powers and the coal and can get, we thought they won't come here. part of the problem at the moment in this country is you can't touch and feel and smell or feel the hot winds of the debt we are in in this country so people can put it out of their mind. it is not looming over them in a way. you can talk all you want about what it will cost your children or grandchildren but because it
is not tangible it is more abstract. i don't think it has the same impact. >> host: in closing you write about the state of journalism today and you say this about investigative journalism. without investigative journalism what would we know about the people in egypt or long before that of watergate? a silent spring? iran contra, war, islamic rage, nuclear proliferation, calamity and terrorism, admiral morris who in a speech he gave at berkeley, commencement speech, he says i have often wondered why we need phrase investigative journalism. is an all journalism supposed to be investigative?
isn't journalism without an investigating element little more than gossip? isn't there enough gossip around already? >> guest: i don't disagree. i often said the same thing. investigator journalism is redundant but there are other forms. there's entertainment journalism. i tell my friends in the fringe business when they complain about what they see on television i want you to go tomorrow and to the streets, though sports news, no crossword puzzle, no cartoons, no entertainment, just the front page. eat your spinach and we will see how successful you are. journalism is a broad spectrum. i'd do believe that the culture of journalism will survive all the changes and how it is delivered. people will have a constant appetite for information about what is going on in their lives. wonderful book about steve jobs, we were talking about the
publishing business and he said something i hadn't thought about. i am buying print copies of books because i know they will survive and i want my children and grandchildren to see them in print form. i don't know what happens to the electronic books that are by. will i be able to retrieve those? in the archival way of those books? earl morris, i talk about him in this book in the context of robert mcnamara. of brilliant documentarian. a national treasure. >> host: thank you very much. [applause]